Easy Learning Italian

Comparing people or things - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

1  Comparative adjectives

What is a comparative adjective?
In English a comparative adjective is one with –er on the end, or more or less in
front of it, for example faster, more important, less interesting. These adjectives are used when you are comparing people or things.

2  How to make a comparative adjective in Italian

  • To say that something is faster, bigger, more important and so on use più in front
    of the adjective.
una macchina più grandea bigger car
un film più interessantea more interesting film
Queste scarpe sono più comode. These shoes are more comfortable.
  • To say that something is less expensive, less interesting and so on use meno in
    front of the adjective.
un computer meno caroa less expensive computer
un viaggio meno faticosoa less tiring journey

3  How to compare one person or thing with another

  • Put either più or meno in front of the adjective and use di to translate than.
Sono più alto di te.I’m taller than you.
Milano è più grande di Genova.Milan is bigger than Genoa.
Carlo è più ambizioso di Luca.Carlo is more ambitious than Luca.
Quello verde è meno caroThe green one is less expensive than
del nero.the black one.
La mia borsa è meno pesante della tua.My bag is less heavy than yours.
  • Note that di combines with the article to make one word: di + il = del, di + la = della, and so on.
  • For more information on di, see Prepositions page 174.

4  Superlative adjectives

What is a superlative adjective?
In English a superlative adjective is one with –est on the end, or most or least in
front of it, for example fastest, most important, least interesting. The definite article is
used with superlative adjectives: the fastest, the most important, the least interesting.

5  How to make a superlative adjective in Italian

  • Making a superlative adjective is very easy: you simply put a definite article in front of the comparative adjective.
il più altothe tallest
il meno interessantethe least interesting
  • The definite article must agree with the person or thing you’re describing.
Matteo è il più alto.Matteo is the tallest.
Lidia è la più alta.Lidia is the tallest.
Queste scarpe sono le più These shoes are the most comode.comfortable.
Gianni è il meno ambizioso.Gianni is the least ambitious.
  • If there is a definite article in front of the noun, do not put a second definite article in front of più or meno.
il ragazzo più altothe tallest boy
la banca più vicinathe nearest bank
lo studente più intelligentethe most intelligent student
i voli più economicithe cheapest flights
i suoi film meno interessantihis least interesting films
TipIn phrases like the most famous in the world, and the biggest in Italy, use di to translate in.
lo stadio più grande d’Italiathe biggest stadium in Italy
il ristorante più caro della cittàthe most expensive restaurant
in the town

6  Irregular comparatives and superlatives

  • In English the comparatives of good and bad are irregular: better, best, worse and worst. In Italian there are regular forms of buono and cattivo.
Questo è più buono.This one’s better.
I rossi sono i più buoni.The red ones are the best.
Quello è ancora più cattivo.That one’s even worse.
  • There are also irregular forms of buono and cattivo, as there are of grande, piccolo, alto and basso:
AdjectiveMeaningComparativeMeaningSuperlativeMeaning
buonogoodmigliorebetteril migliorethe best
cattivobadpeggioreworseil peggiorethe worst
grandebigmaggiorebigger/olderil maggiorethe biggest/oldest
piccolosmallminoresmaller/youngeril minorethe smallest/ youngest
altohighsuperiorehigheril superiorethe highest
bassolowinferiorelowerl’inferiorethe lowest
  • Note that these irregular comparatives and superlatives are adjectives ending in –e, so their plural ending is –i.
il modo migliorethe best way
il mio fratello minoremy younger brother
le mie sorelle maggiorimy older sisters
il labbro inferiorethe lower lip
Il libro è migliore del film.The book is better than the film.
Giorgia è la peggiore della classe.Giorgia is the worst in the class.

7  as … as …

  • Sometimes you want to say that people or things are similar or the same:
I’m as tall as you.
  • In Italian you use come, or quanto to make this kind of comparison.
Pietro è alto come Michele.Pietro is as tall as Michele.
La mia macchina è grande comela tua.My car is as big as yours.
Sono stanca quanto te.I’m just as tired as you are.
  • You can make these sentences negative by adding non.
Pietro non è alto come Michele.Pietro is not as tall as Michele.
Non sono stanca quanto te.I’m not as tired as you are.
Grammar Extra!In English you emphasize adjectives by adding words like very, really or terribly. You do the same in Italian, using molto, veramente and terribilmente.
Lui è molto ricco.He’s very rich.
I fiori sono veramente belli. The flowers are really lovely.
Sono terribilmente stanca. I’m terribly tired.
  • Another way of adding emphasis to Italian adjectives is to replace the –o or –e ending with issimo.
bellobeautiful
bellissimovery beautiful
elegantesmart
elegantissimovery smart
  • Note that these -issimo adjectives change their endings for the feminine and the plural.
Il tempo era bellissimo.The weather was really beautiful.
Anna è sempre elegantissima.Anna is always terribly smart.
Sono educatissimi.They’re extremely polite.
Key points
  • You make comparative adjectives in Italian by using più and meno, and translate than by di.
  • You add the definite article to the comparative adjective to make a superlative adjective.

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